HACKED: Harper with a Tiered Skirt

Cheers, oh, sorry I meant, TIERS!!! 

Today I am going to show you how to create a super on-trend summer dress. 

I keep seeing these dresses online at clothing boutiques with pretty steep price tags and knew I could create my own pretty easily. This hack is really simple to do, and the best part is that we are using the FREE Harper as our base pattern. 

Let’s get started! 

What you need: 

  • Fabric – 4 way stretch. If you want to use a woven for the tiers you totally can, but the bodice and sleeves will need to be stretchy.
  • Sewing Machine or serger 
  • Matching thread 
  • Needle
  • Cutting mat and rotary cutter or scissors
  • Pins and or clips
  • Ruler and calculator (there is a tiny bit of math involved)
  • Tools you use for your preferred gathering method. 

Cutting Your Bodice

To get started we are going to use the pattern to cut the sleeve choice and neckband choice (you may use the high or low scoop for this- I went with the high scoop as this is my personal preference) as is, no modifications. 

For the front and back bodices, you will want to decide where on your body you want your first tier to start. I wanted mine pretty close to my waist, so I went with 11 inches. To get this measurement, I put on a t-shirt and marked where I want my tier to hit, then measured from the arm point to that mark. Now add your seam allowance (SA) to that. For my tiers, I used a 1/4 inch SA to make the math easier, but you can use any SA you wish.  At the arm point, you will cut straight down. This will give a loose fit to the dress. 

Deciding on Length

After cutting your bodices, measure from your bodice edge to where you want your bottom hem to hit on your legs. I selected a midi length for mine (which ended up being 17 inches), but a mini or a maxi would also look super cute! Here is where personal preference and style take over. You can divide this measurement into thirds and make each tier the same height, or play around with different heights. I chose to have my tiers get shorter.

Tier 1: 9 inches high

Tier 2: 6 inches high 

Tier 3: 2 inches high (but I doubled so I could fold over and skip hemming) 

***  Don’t forget to add in your seam allowance for each tier’s height. 

Calculating Skirt Widths

So, now we have the height for each tier figured out. Our next step is to calculate the width of each tier. We want some volume and we are going to be gathering, so we have to do some easy calculations. 

TIER 1: Width of bodice x 1.5 (my bodice measured at 38 inches, then I multiplied by 1.5 to get a width of 57 inches) 

TIER 2: TIER 1 width x 1.5 inches 

TIER 3: TIER 2 width x 1.5 inches 

(You may need to sew multiple pieces together to create a wide enough piece. And YES!! This looks outrageously wide, but trust the process). 

You should now have your front and back bodices, neckband, sleeves, and three tiers. 

Putting Pieces Together

Let’s start sewing! You will construct the bodice as instructed in the tutorial using steps 1-8. Once your bodice is all constructed we will begin attaching the tiers. 

To attach the tiers, you will need to create a long loop for each of the three tiers by sewing right sides together along the height. For my third tier, this involved sewing together 4 different pieces. 

Now we gather! Use your favorite gathering method to evenly gather the top tier to your bodice, right sides together, being  careful not to stretch the bodice and to keep your gathers nice and even. Repeat this process for the next two tiers. Finish the dress using your preferred method of hemming. A rolled hem would look nice with this flowy dress style. 

I can’t wait to see your fun, stylish summer creations! 

Tiffany Laye.

Please share your creations using the following hashtags: #SLPco   #SLPcoHarper  #SLPcoWomens  #SLPcoHarperTiered


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